poetry

Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

On April 9, 1821, French poet Charles Baudelaire was born. He produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. Baudelaire is most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire is considered one of the major innovators in French literature. His themes of sex, death, lesbianism, metamorphosis, depression,…
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William Wordsworth and the Romantic Age of English Literature

William Wordsworth and the Romantic Age of English Literature

On April 7, 1770, major English Romantic poet William Wordsworth was born. Together with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Wordsworth helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads.[6] The eye — it cannot choose but see; we cannot bid the ear be still; our bodies feel, where’er they be, against or with our will. William Wordsworth, Expostulation and Reply, st. 5 (1798). William Wordsworth was born at…
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George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

On March 26, 1840, English Assyriologist George Smith was born. Besides his pioneering work in Assyriology, he first discovered and translated the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest-known written work of literature. Moreover, its description of a flood, strikingly similar to the account in Genesis, had a stunning effect on Smith’s generation. If you like books and stories, you should have heard about the Epic of Gilgamesh, the adventures of the King of…
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Friedrich Hölderlin and the German Romanticism

Friedrich Hölderlin and the German Romanticism

On March 20, 1770, major German lyric poet of Romanticism, Friedrich Hölderlin was born. Hölderlin was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism, particularly his early association with and philosophical influence on his seminary roommates Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel [3] and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. The poetry of Hölderlin, widely recognized today as one of the highest points of German literature, was little known or understood during his lifetime and…
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The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht

The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht

On February 10, 1898, German poet, playwright, theatre director, and Marxist Bertolt Brecht was born. A theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht is best known for his contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production. There are few areas of modern theatrical culture that have not felt the impact or influence of Brecht’s ideas and practices. I’m from Germany. Thus, it is somehow self-evident that Bertolt Brecht was one of the main subjects of my…
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Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim and the Medieval Drama

Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim and the Medieval Drama

Hrosvitha of Gandersheim (c.935 – c.1002) Although her date of birth is not known exactly, today’s post features “the most remarkable woman” of the early middle ages, Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim (in German also often referred to as Roswitha, and attributed as ‘the mighty voice’ or the ‘Nightingale of Gandersheim’). Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim was a 10th-century German secular canoness, as well as a dramatist and poet who lived and worked at Gandersheim Abbey in…
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The Phantastic Travels of Adelbert von Chamisso

The Phantastic Travels of Adelbert von Chamisso

On January 30, 1781, German poet and naturalist of French Origin Adelbert von Chamisso was born. Some of his lyrics, ballads, and romances rank among the finest in German literature. He took part in Captain Kotzebue‘s Russian polar expedition (1815-18) and his 1835 published account of it ranges among the classics of travel. In the same way as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany‘s best known poets,[4] Adelbert von Chamisso was as well a scientist…
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Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

‘The Raven (Corvus Corax)’ – from ‘The Natural History of Selborne’, published in London, 1879 On January 29, 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous narrative poem ‘The Raven‘ was first published in the New York Evening Mirror. It has become one of the best known English poems of all time. The Raven makes use of a number of folk and classical references and is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural…
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Boccaccio and his Decameron

Boccaccio and his Decameron

On December 21, 1375, Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist Giovanni Boccaccio passed away. He is best known for his masterpiece ‘The Decameron‘ told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales. You haven’t heart about the ‘Decameron’? You definitely should, simply because it is the masterpiece of European Renaissance literature. It its 100 stories it provides us with an intimate contemporary view into medieval and early Renaissance European…
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The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

Hans Sachs (1494-1576) On November 5, 1494, German Meistersinger (master singer), poet, playwright, and shoemaker Hans Sachs was born. His work is considered the most important testimony of the bourgeois imperial town culture of the 16th century. What makes Hans Sachs so special – although you might have never heart of him – is his profession as being a ‘Meistersinger’. Actually, he is also the only ‘Meistersinger’ whose fame lasted over the centuries…
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